Lockdown ‘Dystopia’: Dozens of Tories Rebel – But Not Enough to Save ‘Freedom Day’

TOPSHOT - A woman, wearing a face mask, walks past the closed iron curtain of a restaurant on which it is written "Covid 19-84" referring to the book of Orwell 1984 on December 10, 2020, as France is on a second lockdown in a biid to contain the spread of …
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Dozens of Conservative MPs rebelled and voted against extending restrictions — but not enough to stop the measures being passed, with 491 MPs backing the plans.

Some 60 Members of Parliament voted against the extension last night, of which were 49 Conservative lawmakers, with the notional Opposition Labour Party backing the measures which will delay the end of lockdown from June 21st to July 19th.

Lockdown sceptic Sir Desmond Swayne likened the delay to actions taken by the “communist party”, according to The Telegraph, telling the House of Commons on Wednesday night: “I could understand it if we were a communist party, but this is the party that inherited the true wisdom of the Whig tradition.

“This is the party of Margaret Thatcher, who said that liberty was indivisible. This is the party that only recently elected a leader that they believed, that we believed, was a libertarian, so there is much on which we are going to have to reflect.”

Mark Harper, chairman of the lockdown-sceptic COVID Recovery Group (CRG) of Tory MPs, expressed his fear that this delay could be just the first.

“My worry, and the worry of others, is we’re going to get to this point in four weeks’ time and we’re just going to be back here all over again extending the restrictions,” Mr Harper said.

Deputy chairman of the CRG Steve Baker described the renewal of social distancing rules as a “dystopia” and that the government had “transformed this society for the worse”.

“We have put in place a culture of habits which will take years to shake off, culture and habits which distance people from one another and diminish their quality of life, the quality of relationships that they have with one another,” Mr Baker continued.

Richard Drax MP expressed incredulity at the situation where the UK is heading for its 16th month of some form of coronavirus restrictions, saying: “What on earth is happening to our country? Muzzled, acquiescent and fearful.”

Alluding to the Remain campaign’s “Project Fear” agenda that sought to dissuade Britons from voting to leave the EU by publishing exaggerated dire forecasts, which were later found to be wrong, Mr Drax continued:  “Having fought and defeated one project fear, I never thought I’d experience another. Sadly, unlike the first, the polls suggest the majority of the population has succumbed to the second.

“Armed with this information, the decision-makers feel they can creep out with their shovels and move the goalposts at will.

“Personally, I’m not surprised the nation has been beaten into submission when day after day, hour after hour, we’re deluged with dire warnings of doom and gloom by Government advisers of one kind or another.”

Former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said on Tuesday that the country had been “frightened” into accepting further lockdown restrictions because of “incorrect” scientific forecasts about the number of potential hospitalisations due to the Indian strain of the Chinese virus which he said did not take into account the efficacy of the vaccine programme.

Speaking to The Telegraph‘s Planet Normal podcast on Thursday, Mr Duncan Smith said: “The attempt to get everyone to do as they’re told has led to this fear factor in the back of everyone’s heads.

“I mean, in what world would you think that the BBC would report death rates of eight, every day? Why would you report those death rates when they are less than pneumonia by a long way, cancer, heart disease, you name it?”

Government scientists have since reportedly downgraded the numbers of predicted hospitalisations and deaths during the allegedly impending third wave of coronavirus infections.

Though the rebellion totalled less than 50, the second-largest instance of Tories defying the government, it is likely to unnerve the prime minister. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was said to have been frantically calling around MPs planning to vote against the measure, with sources telling media that rebels were more than just from the “usual suspects” of lockdown sceptics.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons, had criticised the government’s rationale for extending the lockdown, which the prime minister said on Monday was in part to protect the NHS from a theoretical of sick people who had not yet been vaccinated.

Mr Rees-Mogg said: “The Government doesn’t have the right to take charge of people’s lives, purely to prevent them seeing the doctor.”

Remarking: “Ultimately, the NHS is there to serve the British people, not the British people there to serve the NHS.”

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